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Alchemy and chemistry

Isaac Newton

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Alchemy and chemistry

Newton left a mass of manuscripts on the subjects of alchemy and chemistry, then closely related topics. Most of these were extracts from books, bibliographies, dictionaries, and so on, but a few are original. He began intensive experimentation in 1669, continuing till he left Cambridge, seeking to unravel the meaning that he hoped was hidden in alchemical obscurity and mysticism. He sought understanding of the nature and structure of all matter, formed from the solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, movable particles that he believed God had created. Most importantly in the Queries appended to Opticks and in the essay On the Nature of Acids (1710), Newton published an incomplete theory of chemical force, concealing his exploration of the alchemists, which became known a century after his death.


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